Among the changes that have elevated public appreciation of floral arrangements has been the imaginative use of containers. From antique vases to beer mugs, anything that can hold stem support material is now fair game for the creative florist. The container may set or at least contribute to the theme of the arrangement. If it can hold water, it can be used for fresh flowers. If it cannot hold water, it may still hold water – filled foam wrapped in waterproof foil and fixed in place with wire, tape, or clay. Containers that do not hold water may also be used successfully with permanent materials.

An important quality of all containers is that they not detract from the overall arrangement and the beauty of its plant materials. Such is often the case when a designer selects a novelty container for the sheer cleverness of doing so. A flashy container can never improve a mediocre design, but it can definitely hurt a good one.

Containers should be carefully selected as one element of the total arrangement. They must first serve the functional needs of this arrange­ment, be appropriate for the shape of arrangement desired, and be able to hold the proper stem support material. Designers can then give their imagination full reign in selecting the appropriate container. You should know the basic types first and how to arrange them, then try your hand with more inventive containers (Figure 7-5).